Mike Kiniry

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

He became the first producer of Gulf Coast Live when the show launched in 2004, and also worked as the host of All Things Considered from 2004 to 2006, and the host of Morning Edition from 2006 to 2011. He then left public radio to work as PR Director for the Alliance for the Arts for five years, and was then Principled Communicator at the election integrity company Free & Fair for a year before returning to WGCU in October, 2017.

In the past Mike has been a bartender and cook at Liquid Café in downtown Fort Myers, a golf club fixer/seller at the Broken Niblick Golf Shop in Fort Myers, and a bookseller at Ives Book Shop in Fort Myers. He lives near downtown Fort Myers with his daughter, and their dog and two cats.

Governor Ron DeSantis made a stop at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples on Wednesday to announce that he wants more funding for Everglades Restoration in next year’s budget, and to guarantee that funding level for the following two years. And he says he wants to increase penalties for municipalities that pollute Florida waters.


Governor Ron DeSantis made a stop at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples on Wednesday to announce that he wants more funding for Everglades restoration in next year’s budget, and to guarantee that funding level for the following two years.

He also said he wants to increase penalties for municipalities that pollute Florida waters.


The South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board recently voted to substantially increase the amount of water quality monitoring that’s conducted in the Northern Everglades watersheds, and in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River. The board voted unanimously to increase the number of monitoring stations from 161 to 243, and increase the frequency of sampling from monthly to twice a month.


Southwest Florida is in some ways on the front lines of the global battle against harmful algal blooms. On yesterday’s show we met an ethnobotanist who has spent decades, along with his team of world class researchers, exploring the possible connections between the toxins produced by blue-green algae and neurodegenerative disorders like ALS and Alzheimer’s. He was in town attending a water summit because as he described it this part of Florida faced a “toxic vice” last year when the freshwater blue-green algae met the offshore red tide bloom in the Caloosahatchee estuary.

In 1900 there were about 12 million people employed in agriculture in the U.S. in the year 1900. That's 1 out of every 6 people. Today, there are about 1.7 million, which is just 1 out of every 50 people. We're revisiting a conversation we had with two University of Florida professors to discuss their recent paper “Future Farms Without Farmers,” which was published in the journal of “Science Robotics.”


The Hendry County Cooperative Extension is a partnership between the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences or IFAS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Hendry County Government.

The concept of Agricultural Extension has been around for more than a century, after Congress established the service in 1914 as a means of disseminating research coming out of land-grant universities like the University of Florida.


Coral reefs are facing serious threats all over the world, and are dying at alarming rates. Scientists have mostly attributed coral bleaching and diseases to environmental stressors like warming water temperatures and increased acidification brought on by climate change. Now, a 30 year study reveals land-based nitrogen is playing a major role.

We’re revisiting our conversation with author Robert Wheeler to discuss his book, Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of the Writer’s Life in Cuba. The book captures the essence of Ernest Hemingway’s time in Cuba through Wheeler's photographs and prose. It tells the story of why Hemingway felt most at home in Cuba, and illustrates the beauty of the people and the island-setting that most inspired him.

Summertime is here, and for many families that means time at the pool, or at the beach but it also means an increased risk for drowning. About 1,000 kids die each year in the U.S. from drowning, and another 7,000 go to the emergency room because of non-fatal drowning events. And, while pool safety for little kids often gets the most attention, statistically speaking it is far more likely for a kid to die from drowning in open waters, like at the beach, or on a lake or in a river. And, it’s actually teenage boys who are most likely to drown this way. We're joined by Sally Kreuscher, she’s a Child Advocate with Lee Health and a local SafeKids Coordinator, to get some drowning prevention tips.


About 13 years ago Tamaqua Borough in Pennsylvania passed an ordinance prohibiting corporations from dumping waste sludge into open-pit mines by mandating that any resident could sue on behalf of the “rights of natural communities and ecosystems.” Since then, more than three dozen communities across the United States have adopted similar Rights of Nature measures. Two years later, the Ecuador wrote the rights of nature into its new constitution.


Increases in potentially deadly heat, driven by climate change, will affect every state in the contiguous U.S. in the decades ahead. That’s the main conclusion of a new report released today by the Union of Concern Scientists. It’s accompanied by a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Research Communications.

It’s probably fair to say the Brazilian peppertrees are one of the most disliked invasive species here in Florida. They’ve filled more than 700-thousand acres of land in the state, including in the Everglades. And, if you’ve ever had one on your property you know: they’re really hard to control.

We're revisiting a conversation we had with Dr. Terry Root, she is a senior fellow emerita at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, and is also science advisor for the American Wind and Wildlife InstituteShe was also a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 5th Assessment Report that in 2007 was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore.

We’ve been hearing more and more stories lately about the various places plastics are showing up in our environment. Stories of dead dolphins washing ashore on local beaches with pounds of plastics in their stomachs; scientists breaking deep sea diving records, only to find a plastic bag and food wrappers; researchers have even found microplastics in a remote area of the Pyrenees mountains.

We meet Dr. Frances E. Jensen, MD to explore her book, “The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.” Co-written by Amy Ellis Nutt, this bestseller explores recent research into how the adolescent brain is still developing throughout the teenage years, the important changes that are still happening, and the implications when it comes to parenting and understanding teen behavior.

New research just getting underway at Florida Gulf Coast University is exploring a novel approach to possibly someday controlling blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. While commonly referred to as an algae, cyanobacteria is actually a bacteria. And, like all bacteria, it has viruses that live inside of it, called phages. Some of them will cause it to flourish, some of them will cause it to die.


The documentary Toxic Puzzle tells the story of an ethnobotanist named Paul Cox who has spent years trying to track down links between toxins produced by blue-green algae and neurodegenerative disorders like ALS and Alzheimer’s.

New research just getting underway at Florida Gulf Coast University is exploring a novel approach to possibly someday controlling blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria.

A recent study by scientists with the University of Florida and the U.S. Geological Survey found that Burmese pythons may be foraging on wading bird nesting rookeries in the Florida Everglades. The research is published in PLOS One. We're joined by the study’s lead author, Sophie Orzechowski, who performed this research as part of her recently completed master’s degree in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida.


Man’s best friend has served people for years with companionship, protection and love. Dogs have the intellectual capacity to obey commands, and trainers have primed their intelligent minds to help people who need assistance to navigate the world around them. We're listening back to a show we did in April with Jennifer Bryan, she is director of philanthropy at Southeastern Guide Dogs, and Roy Kennedy, who raises puppies for the organization.


Today marks the beginning of a new fiscal year in Florida government with a nearly $91 billion dollar budget. Today also marks the day when a number of new laws take effect that were passed by elected officials in this year’s annual legislative session. 

Alzheimer’s disease is named after a doctor, who in 1906 noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of a mental illness that included symptoms like memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps which we now call amyloid plaques, and tangled bundles of fibers now called tau tangles. These plaques and tangles are still considered the main features of Alzheimer’s disease, and most research into its possible causes focus on them. But, there is a new branch of Alzheimer’s research that’s exploring whether there might be an infectious disease link to AD.

Today, in lieu of Gulf Coast Live, we’re airing an episode of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories. It’s an exploration of the way music connects to our memories. We challenge our guests to pick three songs from their lives, which we use as a means of getting to know them better. This episode, which was originally released in June of last year, is with fifth generation Southwest Floridian Jeff McCullers.


While red tide algal blooms have occurred off the coast of western Florida since before the state was heavily developed – the earliest accounts of its presence date back to the 1880s, and J.N. Ding Darling himself wrote about a massive red tide bloom in the 1940s – current residents of this part of the state are unfortunately well-aware of just how harmful a red tide bloom can be.

Florida has long ranked at or near the bottom when it comes to spending for state-managed mental health programs. And while the lack of available mental health services, for people of all ages, is a statewide problem, it’s particularly acute here in Southwest Florida. In Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties there is roughly one mental health provider per 1000 residents -- that’s compared to the state average of about one in 670 people.

Audubon’s Corkscrew Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has a new Sanctuary Director at the helm. Dr. Lisa Korte comes to Corkscrew after spending years working in the rainforests of Central and West Africa. We get to know her, and her vision for the future of the 65 year old sanctuary.


The 2018 wading bird nesting season was one of the largest on record, that’s according to the annual South Florida Wading Bird Report released last week by the South Florida Water Management District, and prepared along with Audubon Florida.


The State University System of Florida Board of Governors has selected the University of Florida to lead a statewide consortium studying health outcomes related to medical marijuana. UF will lead the Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research, which will be composed of public and private universities engaged in research on clinical outcomes of medical marijuana.


Florida Gulf Coast University is taking the lead among Florida’s public universities when it comes to the broader world of medical cannabis. It’s getting ready to offer its new Cannabis Education Certificate Program for the second time next month, starting on August 7th.

Valerie’s House, which offers support services focused on children who have experienced loss, operates three homes in southwest Florida. They recently received a $100,000 grant from the Naples Children & Education Foundation that’s going to help them expand their services in Collier County. Valerie’s House gives children a home-like environment to identify, express and process their grief through art, music and other services, all overseen by licensed clinical social workers.

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